A Breath of Fresh Air in French Art

PARIS–Last Wednesday night, despite a taxi strike and horrendous traffic, I was finally able to make it to the opening of a  wonderful exhibition of drawings and sculpture by the highly talented Anne Ferrer, who has been making unique inflatable works of soft sculpture for some time. Lively, exhuberant, playful forms in dazzling reds, hot pinks, reds, oranges and yellows soared in the luminous white box space at the Galerie Michel Journiac, challenging the cold, gray damp of a Paris night. Inside, as I walked around and admired the organic forms that were both enchanting and menacing, buoyant and and defiant, I was struck how much they were an antidote at this time of year, less than three months after tragedy had struck down the people of Paris on a Friday night last November.

Created immediately following these terrible events at the Virginia Center of Creative Arts, thanks to a“Watchmeister Grant,” the works have a thrusting and pulsating energy that is so vital and so necessary right now. We need artists like Anne Ferrer to remind us that the way forward has to be with distilled and focused energy that is both airy and playful, grounded and serious. The group of floating sculptures, that soar and are powered by small fans, invite us into a mysterious universe that still has things to show  and teach us. Don’t we want to be a force of beautiful intensity, colorful energy, that is disciplined and dancing at once? All of this and more, is shown in this wonderful work titled “Devenir Souffle” (Becoming Breath) and we look forward to more works like it in the future from this gifted and imaginative talent.

Biography: Anne Ferrer, a native of Toulouse, studied at the University of Oklahoma, before getting her MFA from Yale University. Back in France,  her first art studio was in a Paris butcher’s shop. She began showing her work after getting her DEA in art from the University of Paris. Her sculptures have since been shown at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, the Centre Pompidou, as well as in museums as far away as Seoul, Madrid, Naples, Prague, and La Paz, Bolivia. For the past 10 years, Anne has been alternating shows and residencies at the School of Arts at the Art Institute in Chicago, the Gallery Lab in New York City, the Red Arrow Gallery in Dallas, and the Blue Star Art Center in San Antonio. She also conceived a work for the Houston Public Library shown in 2014. Since 2013, her works now figure in the collection of Virginia’s Taubman Museum and the Telfair Museum in Georgia has just acquired a major sculpture for its atrium. She is currently preparing a show for the museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania.